MRA are kicking and are kicking in the hotbed of feminist India. That is Goa. SIFF Goa is launched.. here is the the link of media in Times of India Panaji
One morning the husband returns after several hours of fishing and decides
to take a nap.
Although not familiar with the lake, the wife decides to take the boat out.
She motors out a short distance, anchors,
and reads her book.
Along comes a Game Warden in his boat. He pulls up alongside the woman and
says, `Good morning, Ma`am.
What are you doing?` `Reading a book,` she replies, (thinking, `Isn`t that
`You`re in a Restricted Fishing Area,` he informs her.
`I`m sorry, officer, but I`m not fishing. I`m reading`
`Yes, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start at any
moment. I`ll have to take you
in and write you up.`
`For reading a book,` she replies,
`You`re in a Restricted Fishing Area,` he informs her again.
`If you do that, I`ll have to charge you with Sexual assault,` says the
`But I haven`t even touched you,` says the game warden.
`That`s true, but you have all the equipment. For all I know you could start
at any moment.`
`Have a nice day ma`am,` and he left.
A young unmarried girl discovers that she is pregnant. Scared, She confides
this ` news` to her mother.
Shouting, cursing, crying, the mother says, “Who was the pig that did This
I want to know!” The girl picks up the phone and makes a call.
Half an hour later a Ferrari stops in front of their house; a mature And
distinguished man with gray hair and impeccably dressed in a very expensive
suit steps out of it and enters the house.
He sits in the living room with the father, the mother and the Girl, and
tells them: “Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the Problem.
However, I can`t marry her because of my personal family Situation, but I`ll
take responsibility. If a girl is born I will bequeath her 2 retail stores,
a townhouse, a beach villa and a $1,000,000 bank account. If a boy is born,
my legacy will be a couple of factories and a $2,000,000 bank account.
If it is twins, a factory and $1,000,000 each. However,
If there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest I do?”
At this point, the father, who had remained silent, places a hand Firmly on
the man`s shoulder and tells him , “You can try again .
So, what do we know about Rahul Gandhi? We know he’s 40, the same age his father Rajiv was when he became Prime Minister of India. We know he’s an alumni of Modern School, New Delhi; Doon School, Dehradun; Rollins College (B.A.), Florida; and Trinity College (M.Phil in development studies), Cambridge (in Britain). We know he was an average student.
We know he went by a name he will never use again, Raul Vinci, when he worked three years at a global management company in Cambridge (in America).
We know that since he became an MP six years ago, he has moved slowly, gradually easing into being general secretary of India’s grand old party.
We know he is “as his dogged reorganisation of the Congress grassroots shows” imbued with decidedly unIndian political traits of setting goals and attention to detail and execution.
We know he’s rather personable and routinely winds up atop those tiresome lists of ‘men you would like to date’, though we don’t know whether, as the rumours go, he really has a six-pack.
All this is pretty common knowledge, but it isn’t enough if this young man stakes his claim to take charge of our collective destinies on a day that may rapidly be approaching. Much as I abhor dynastic politics, large swathes of India embrace it, as our past and present indicate. The latest poll on the issue, conducted by India Today last month, showed that 29 per cent of India wants Rahul to be our next prime minister (at second place, 11 per cent, the incapacitated Atal Bihari
Polls and the people they poll are notoriously fickle, but they are indicators of the moment. The mood of the moment is Rahul.
So, what else should you know about him?
You should know he listens a lot. Though no one whom he’s brainstormed with is willing to be identified, I gather that his political interests centre on tribal affairs, panchayati raj (local self-governance) and their links to the growing Maoist insurgency. Earlier this year, he quietly slipped into the Indian Rural Management Institute (IRMA), Anand, Gujarat, and spent a day listening to presentations on panchayati raj and the insurgency.
You should know that he wins over people quickly. One expert I spoke to recently was leery of the Gandhi family’s dynastic politics, explaining how it clashed with the local self-governance ideals Rahul and his mother Sonia were trying to promote. As I was talking to him in Delhi, a call came from 12 Tughlak Lane. Would the professor please spend an hour with Rahul later that day? The chat went on for nearly three hours and after it the professor said: “Well, I must tell you, he seems really sincere and knows a great deal about the subject.” He would rather I not mention the subject.
You should know that Rahul is not the politically naïve Gandhi he’s often made out to be. There was no greater evidence than his I-am-your-soldier-in-Delhi speech to the tribals of Orissa’s Niyamgiri Hills, two days after confidant and Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh denied a mining lease on tribal land and struck down the expansion of Vedanta Resources’ aluminium refinery. Though it’s a good thing for India’s long-abused tribals, forests and the laws that govern them, there is a political design to Ramesh’s environmental crackdown. To determine if Rahul’s politics are not self-serving, we must now see if this crackdown widens into Congress-ruled states.
You should know that Rahul stays away from anything that might mar his widening appeal. This is why he flew to Leh during the devastating mudslide, but stayed away from the troubled Valley to its south. In these days of Kashmiri trauma and anger, a Rahul visit to a couple of Srinagar hospitals, some time with families of dead teenagers would have had an impact. Before the current intifada, two young Kashmiri men came to Delhi in response to his call for a few good men. It’s another matter that the two men were picked up by the police for being Kashmiri, and are probably throwing stones now.
So, after a prime minister who shepherded an era of — and talked about little other than — economic growth (now at 8.8 per cent), we may get a leader who may focus on those left behind. In a selfish nation devoid of empathy for its poor and damned, this is welcome. But India is equally a young, entrepreneurial country with superpower dreams. It also requires clear political signposts, to roads allowed or forbidden, hammered into the ground by the man who would be king. Rahul and his mother’s pro-poor proclivities are causing contradictions in the government because what they are thinking is not being articulated.
Rahul’s carefully crafted air of inaccessibility could backfire. This is not the India of Indira, or Rajiv. There are still a few million who cannot identify their prime minister “even, incredibly, their own states” and so might vote in any Gandhi. But this is a nation whose politics are increasingly determined by a revolution of relentlessly rising expectations. These expectations require quick, clear, articulate expressions of governance, which the government isn’t presently delivering. Rahul’s silence makes it worse. One 60-plus Congress minister said to me: “Brother, why you, many of us do not know what he thinks about many things.”For a nation sworn to a democratic destiny, that isn’t good enough.
What prompted Robert Vadra to denounce his father and brother in a public notice: the UP elections or the whiff of a scandal?
Once questioned, Congressmen admitted that both Robert’s father, Rajinder Vadra, and Richard, his brother, had approached them on various occasions for school admissions and other favours. In fact, Congress sources say that it was Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh who tipped Sonia Gandhi off about the Vadras.Deshmukh told the Congress president how Richard Vadra had approached him for certain ‘favours’. Sonia spoke to Priyanka and Robert. Other Congressmen—Satish Sharma and Arjun Singh—too gave her counsel. But sources claim that Robert was the most keen on issuing a notice before the “situation got out of hand”. Admitting as much to Outlook, Robert said: “No one prompted me. I did not want my name to be misused for any favours.” Former law minister Hansraj Bhardwaj’s son Arun was asked to issue the legal notice. Says Arun: “The notice is self-explanatory. The intention is that the public should not be misled.”
Once the lid came off, other Congressmen too came forward with their stories. Karnataka chief minister S.M. Krishna too had apparently been asked to help out Richard’s ‘friends and associates’ as were other Congress party officials. A Congress general secretary had been asked by Richard to help his friends get college admissions. Another UP Congressman was approached by both father and son for favours pertaining to school admissions and party tickets. A former Union minister in the United Front government was even reprimanded by an uncle of Robert Vadra for making him wait for an appointment. “Wait until the Congress comes to power!” he was threatened.
Robert’s father admits to having made calls and asked for favours on the strength of the Gandhi connection. Ironically, he sees no duplicity in first opposing Robert’s marriage to Priyanka (“I was not too keen on it”) and later using the very connection to serve his friends. Says he: “So many people approach me. If I can help them, where is the problem? So what if my son is not talking to me? I am still his father. I never used his name. I just said I am Robert’s father” (and more importantly, Priyanka’s father-in-law!).
Nor does Rajinder Vadra see any harm in asking for favours such as school admissions. “If a father cannot pay lakhs in donations, what’s the harm in helping him? After all, it’s for a child.” A line of thinking son Robert obviously disagrees with. “Where does it all stop? Even if it’s for a school admission, it’s perhaps for someone who does not merit it. I am totally against such backdoor political pressure. Why should my name be misused in this manner?”
The notice thus minces no words. “My client is constrained to issue this notice for putting public at large to notice in order to prevent innocent people from becoming victims.” “This advertisement will act as a barricade,” says Robert. “All this will stop now. To how many people do you go and explain that they (those demanding favours) are not acting on my behalf?”
But more than the father, it’s Robert’s brother Richard who is a familiar face to most Congress leaders. In fact, he has now become a joke in party circles. As the story goes, when Richard approached a party official, he asked his secretary, “Who’s this Richard? King Richard?” Retorted the secretary: “No. Richard Vadra. Better than King Richard!”
The rumours and allegations apart, the public notice did catch everyone by surprise. One Congress general secretary claims Robert did it to distance himself from his family’s RSS links before the crucial UP elections which of course Robert denies. One of Robert’s four uncles, O.P. Vadra, has donated family land to the RSS-run Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Moradabad. But while O.P. Vadra admits the RSS runs the school, he claims he had donated the land after his two sons died in separate car accidents. Says he: “The school is in their memory. It’s also named after them—Sanjay and Mannu. I needed someone to run it and the RSS offered to. That’s all. My family’s always been pro-Congress.”
Others, however, suspect much more than the RSS connection. Congress sources talk of a business deal gone sour. Suggests a party MP: “Perhaps Richard was about to be implicated in some scandal. And before that broke, Robert distanced himself from the family.” In fact, a case may have already been filed, prompting Robert to act fast. In his interview to Outlook, Robert says he is aware that Richard had promised ‘certain things’ to some people which will now not be delivered post the advertisement. Even father Rajinder has heard certain allegations about his elder son. The deal, from all accounts, involves a party in Mumbai. When Outlooktried to contact Richard, his mobile phone was switched off and his wife was screening calls on the land line at his rented home in Moradabad.
The Vadra family has never been very close-knit, despite the strong turnout at the Robert-Priyanka wedding. Family sources point to the less-than-excellent rapport between the two brothers. Even Rajinder Vadra says: “Robert was closest to his sister Michelle.” Before her death in a car accident last year, Michelle was often seen with Priyanka and even accompanied her during election campaigns. The Vadra children spent most of their childhood in Delhi with their mother Maureen who taught at Tiny Tots school, while Rajinder Vadra shuttled between Delhi and Moradabad.
Robert does see this as an ‘unpleasant situation’ for him, but says he was forced to resort to this measure to save his own reputation. Says he: “I may have hurt my family but such feelings can be mended. But what if we were sued or something? We aren’t in that predicament now as I have put a stop to it with this notice.”
Sonia, meanwhile, has instructed Congress general secretary Ambika Soni to send a letter to all Congress CMs and PCC chiefs along with a copy of the notice warning them about the misuse of the family name. But the tussle could still go on. Robert’s father is talking of suing his son for defamation. There is also speculation that Richard may soon be embroiled in some controversy for promising certain favours on the strength of his brother’s link to the Gandhi family.
Robert, who runs his own handicrafts and accessories business, is upset that his relatives could actually be tempted to misuse his name in such a manner. “I want to make it on my own. I have never asked for favours. Why can’t they take me as I am? If love and affection is not enough, then I am very sorry.” He hopes that by bringing the matter into the public sphere he has stemmed the rot. Says he: “I have made my statement. I have issued my notice. After this no one will be pushed into granting favours in my name. No one should misuse my name.” That unfortunately is the price you pay when you marry into the country’s most powerful political family.
NEW DELHI: Rajendra Vadra, father of Robert Vadra, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s husband, was found dead at a guest house in Yusuf Sarai area on Friday.Asource requesting anonymity claimed that it was suspected to be a case of suicide as Vadra was found with an ironing cord around his neck. Police officials, off the record, initially said the death was caused by a heart attack, but later clammed up. No official statement was forthcoming from either the family or the police.
Vadra’s body was found by a room attendant at around 9.30 am in City Inn, where he had been staying for the last fortnight. His body was taken to Safdarjung Hospital and a post mortem conducted. Sources within the hospital claimed that there were injury marks around the neck, but declined to be quoted. Neither the police, nor hospital authorities divulged any details about the cause of death.
Vadra, who was in his 60s, was reportedly alone at the time of his death. His body was cremated at the Lodhi Road Crematorium on Friday afternoon in the presence of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka and his son Robert, along with other family and friends. Rahul left early for campaigning in Bihar while the others stayed on with the family. The family of the deceased refused to speak to the media about the incident. The police declined to comment on whether an inquest would be conducted into the allegations of suicide.
Vadra was reportedly undergoing treatment for cirrhosis of the liver and severe diabetes at Max Hospital. He was staying at the guest house even though he owned a house in New Friend’s Colony.
About eight years ago, Robert Vadra had issued a public notice stating that his father, Rajender, and brother, Richard, were “duping” people by promising jobs at the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee and other favours. Rajendra later threatened to file a defamation suit against his son. In an interview, he had also expressed displeasure at Robert’s marriage with Priyanka.
Rajendra was a resident of Civil Lines area of Moradabad and ran a brass and wood handicrafts business. Robert’s brother, Richard Vadra was also found dead in mysterious circumstances in September 2003 at his Vasant Vihar residence, and his sister Michelle died in a car accident in 2001.
While the Vadra family claimed to be a supporter of the Congress Party, Rajendra’s older brother Om Prakash had donated his property to a trust in Moradabad, some members of which are affiliated with RSS. A school still stands on that land. The family is originally from Sialkot, Pakistan, and Rajendra’s father moved to India at the time of partition.
Natasha Singh’s Mysterious Death
|By Sayantan Chakravarty, Anshul Avijit and Leher Kala|
By March 17, Delhi’s fickle spring weather had slipped into a warm consistency. So when socialite-photographer Natasha Singh stepped out of her Greater Kailash flat late in the evening, she was dressed in blue jeans, a purple T-shirt and Nike sneakers. She seemed in a tolerant mood-her maid Jesse, from tribal Bihar, remembers that she happily had bitter gourd for lunch, something she normally disliked. She drove to the Hotel Hyatt Regency, 6 km away, walked through the large and busy lobby and got into the lift. Inside, there was a mirror framed with strands of mother-of-pearl where she saw her face-for the last time in her life. It was an attractive face, the fusion of a Jordanian father and a dusky south Indian Christian mother, a face, a friend said “was always smiling no matter what”. Nobody knows if there was another face looking into that mirror.
Natasha, or so the police say, moved from the second to the seventh floor, and then to the top of the building, a spaghetti of pipes and aluminium ac ducts. She found her way to the tower top and sometime after midnight, fell 50 metres to her death. She was 31.
The incident was to quickly become as obsessive as a Bollywood melodrama. It was all about a beautiful girl dying young-a girl with a volatile estranged husband and his powerful political family, two small children caught in a custodial tug-of-war and a former lover banished to London. When the news broke, the media thronged the hotel and the mangled 5 ft 7 in body of Natasha shattered the Sunday calm of the capital’s social elite. As policemen probed the death, the speculation oscillated between suicide and murder. Four days later Satish Chandra, joint police commissioner, Delhi Police, in charge of the case, would say the “investigations are still on”.
Media attention was never new to Natasha. Her spat with her husband Jagat Singh, son of former Union minister Natwar Singh, had appeared in a supplement of a leading newspaper in December 2001. There, Natasha said her husband drank heavily and was abusive and that she had “found a friend” in Vinay Kapoor, a Coca-Cola executive. There also appeared to be a method to her tell-all. She confessed to a friend that she was “using the media” to get back at Jagat.
But life wasn’t always about walking a deadly tightrope. Natasha Masri was born in Delhi and most of her growing life was spent in the sunny happiness of friends and family-mainly her two younger brothers and her mother (see box). Her early schooling was at the British School, where she played basketball and “wasn’t particularly fond of maths”. She shifted to the all-girl Convent of Jesus and Mary for her Class XII, but before this an important friendship had already been formed with Ritu Singh, Jagat’s spirited sister, through whom she got to know her future husband. She studied philosophy at St Stephen’s College, where she formed a close-knit trio with Sonia Verma and Deborah Malik, eating mince bombs and scrambled eggs at its café and rejoicing in the vagabond freedom college life offered. Delhi’s fledgling nightlife wasn’t anywhere near what it is now, but there were a few islands of revelry, notably Ghungroo, the somewhat tiny discotheque at the Maurya Sheraton that would normally be packed with twice as many people as it could accommodate. Among those would be Natasha and her gang.
At college many friends thought she would be foolish not to take up modelling as she had the looks for the job. She did a few ramp shows and shoots, along with Ritu Singh. Jagat, meanwhile had left Doon School and moved to England in 1985 to study history at the University of Bristol. When Ritu reintroduced him to Natasha sometime at the end of 1992, he was 6 ft tall, slim and confidently handsome. After a sugar-candy courtship and a six-month live-in relationship, they married in October 1993, at an Arya Samaj mandir. Jagat’s mother, Heminder Kumari, sister of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the Maharaja of Patiala, was against what she considered a mismatch of pedigree.
The alliance had begun with a sense of concealed foreboding, with Jagat’s parents cutting the couple off. Natasha and Jagat shifted to a Defence Colony barsati, Jagat sold off his Gypsy and for at least two years they both lived under terrible financial strain. Jagat tried his hand at selling Xerox machines and later a pizza business with Natasha. The business failed and Natasha began to teach at Vasant Valley School. It was a job she had to leave when she suffered a miscarriage. When Hanut was born in November 1995, reconciliation with Jagat’s family appeared a possibility. They moved in to Jagat’s Vasant Vihar house and their second son, Himmat, was born in July 1997. Jagat later said in an interview that though they had started living in his parents’ house, Natasha “wasn’t ready to abide by the family’s customs”. It was a strained relationship and they moved into Ritu’s flat in Jorbagh. In 1999 Jagat accepted the family’s political baton and contested the general elections from his father’s old constituency of Bharatpur in Rajasthan on a Congress ticket. He was defeated but not before Natasha reluctantly pulled a sari over her head and played the dutiful political wife. Jagat’s political initiation meant his spending less time in Delhi and that became a sore point with Natasha.
The marriage seemed doomed. Natasha blamed it on Jagat’s late nights and continuous inebriation, of not being there when she needed him and of “wearing her down mentally and physically”. Jagat’s friends say that in fact the opposite was true. “His idea of a good time was to have some friends over,” says one. “She loved to go out, dance, be social. They wanted different things. I don’t think he liked her going out so much on her own.”
In May 2001 she had apparently tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills and was taken to a nursing home in Vasant Vihar. Soon after, Natasha filed for divorce and for custody of her children who were going to Sanskriti, an upmarket school in the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri. In a judgement in July 2001, the Delhi High Court gave custody of the children to both parents in a neat weekly arrangement (weekdays with Natasha, weekends with Jagat) till the case was settled by a lower court. Before the stopgap settlement, there were messy legal diatribes, charges and rebuttals. It was also the beginning of Natasha’s relationship with Vinay Kapoor, director (commercial beverages) of Coca-Cola. Natasha, on her part, had complained that Jagat had not returned home for a week, and later suggested that he was “at the Pakistani Embassy with his girlfriends”.
Kapoor, in his mid-30s, a sharp, well-built executive who rarely missed a workout at the hotel gym, had met Natasha in January 2001 at a party thrown by a prominent industrialist. The Stephanian son of an air force officer and IIM Lucknow graduate was known for his trophy girlfriends, including the late Michelle Vadra, sister-in-law of Priyanka Gandhi. He lived in a suite at The Hyatt-No 265-where Natasha met him regularly. They hit parties, launches and fashion shows together, turning into very visible pillars of Page Three society. When Jagat ran into Kapoor at the Bristol Hotel in Gurgaon in September last year at a party thrown by a mutual friend called Rob Suri-now implicated in the Ali cocaine case-he was jealous and infuriated. Well past 3 in the morning, he smashed a beer bottle on Kapoor’s head in full view of everyone. Kapoor filed a police complaint but a case was never registered.
In December, he was severely beaten up by a bunch of goons after he dropped Natasha home and was admitted to Apollo with multiple fractures in his legs and ribs. In her complaint Natasha had clearly said she feared for her life and that the attack on Vinay Kapoor had been planned by her husband. Kapoor, an ambitious professional, was told by his bosses in Hong Kong that the adverse publicity surrounding his love life was doing nothing for the image of Coca-Cola. The wounded executive was not going to allow a momentary liaison and its bone-crunching repercussions to get in the way of his future. At a lunch on November 11, he told his hostess how he was looking forward to being posted overseas. In January, he left for London in a wheelchair.
With her lover looking for an exit route, things got worse for Natasha. On the night of December 23 she was called to the door by a former maid. When she went outside, she was dragged to the road and a woman attacked her with a prickly metal scrub … while a man stood silently watching from the darkness.